9 Things Professors Need To Improve On

9 Thing Professors Need To Improve On

Even professors make mistakes.


I have been in college for four years. During this time, I have observed some amazing teaching strategies and some not-so-amazing ones.

These are nine things professors do that need improvement.

1. Regulating when students can use the bathroom.

I really didn't think I would have this issue in college. I mean, we're adults now. I understand that constant moving in and out of the classroom can be distracting, but regulating when we can go to the bathroom is a little too extreme. I have had some professors who had this rule listed in the syllabus but never actually followed through with it.

I think a happy midway solution for this problem is to regulate how often the student in question is leaving the classroom. Each time the students leave the room, they are missing information that could help them succeed in the class. Leaving the room repeatedly is detrimental to their learning more so than just one interruption.

2. Having a confusing syllabus.

As students, we are going to be referring to the syllabus all semester long - and told by our professors to do so before asking questions. Our grade is heavily impacted by our ability to understand this document. A proper syllabus should be concise and readable, not wordy and filled with dense information.

3. Requiring pricy textbooks. 

I understand that sometimes classes, unfortunately, require really expensive textbooks in order for students to learn the material required for the class. However, professors should go out of their way to not assign expensive books. Professors should always be aware of the price of the books they make a student buy.

4. Giving busywork.

Busywork is not why I am in college pursuing a degree. Busywork is something given to grade-school students to keep them quiet for the day. When I am sitting in a college classroom, I expect to be learning new concepts and perspectives every day. Busywork is not productive and does not cultivate a good learning environment.

5. Emails.

Emails are an important communication tool for both professors and students. But I have had many professors who just don't use their email as they should. Sometimes, like with online classes, an email is the only form of communication between student and professor. If a professor ignores a student's email, the student may complete an assignment wrong and therefore get a lower grade in the class, as opposed to the professor answering the students emailed question before the assignment was due.

6. Giving illogical lectures.

I know this sounds weird, but sometimes my professors just don't make sense. One minute my professor can be talking about Plato and Socrates and the next minute, the class is getting an in-depth recount of the professor's life on a farm. I kid you not, this actually happened in one of my classes. The professor spent the rest of the 45-minute class talking about his childhood. I still don't know what we were supposed to learn that day.

7. Canceling class inconsistently without notice.

I understand professors are human and sometimes circumstances arise that stop their ability to have class, causing them to cancel right before class starts. I understand this and I try not to get upset if a professor unexpectedly cancels. However, if a professor is constantly canceling class last minute, then I have a little less patience. As a commuter, I have to drive to campus every day. If one of my classes is canceled unexpectedly, it can really mess up my schedule for the rest of the day, especially if it was my only class for the day.

8. Not allowing eating in class.

I understand this rule to an extent as well. Sometimes someone may bring in food that is sort of smelly or has loud packaging. This can distract the students and the professor. But sometimes our schedules require that we eat in classes. Back-to-back classes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. require some kind of food consumption to keep the students alert and healthy.

9. Handing back work to be revised without telling us how to make it better.

I have had this happen too many times. How can I revise something for a higher grade if the professor did not explicitly mark what was wrong in the first place?

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.


To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.


A third-year nursing student who knows

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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?


Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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